I recently finished my first year of graduate school. It had been some time since I had traversed the halls of academia. But in traversing those halls—particularly the halls housing offices of various professors, lecturers and teaching assistants—I noticed that a fair number of those doors were festooned with political cartoons, articles, and slogans.From semite1973: Office Door Politics. Go read the rest and welcome zak to the blogosphere.
I think politicizing one’s office door is completely inappropriate, at least at a university.
My view on this has nothing to do with the politics of the “posters." Rather, I am more concerned that the “posting" instructors seem to have forgotten what their primary function is: to educate, help, and nurture their students—not indulge publicly and professionally in personal political crusades. They would also do well to remember that some of their students might not share their political views. Finally, they would do well to remember that maybe, just maybe, some of the overtly political statements plastered on their office doors might intimidate some their students, which is the last thing that should happen in a university environment.
"You media people are on a witch hunt. Rove didn't leak the name. He said, `the wife' or something like that. So he didn't violate the law, exactly," said the senior Republican who happens to be my mom, and since she's 74 years old, she's senior enough.
In the predawn darkness of July 13, 1994, 72 desperate Cubans – old and young, male and female – sneaked aboard a decrepit but seaworthy tugboat in Havana harbor and set off for the U.S. and the prospect of freedom. A few miles into the turbulent sea, 30-year-old Maria Garcia felt someone tugging her sleeve. She looked down and it was her 10-year-old son, Juan. "Mami, look!" and he pointed behind them toward shore. "What's those lights?"Read the rest: Castro's July 13 Massacre
"Looks like a boat following us, son," she stuttered while stroking his hair. "Calm down, mi hijo (my son). Try to sleep. When you wake up, we'll be with our cousins in a free country. Don't worry." In fact, Maria suspected the lights belonged to Castro patrol boats coming out to intercept them.
Host: Excuse me, Is Sheik Osama bin Laden a religious scholar, who issues fatwas, or is he the head of Al-Qaeda?(a thimbleful of pomegranate juice to Azadeh)
Al-Siba'i: First of all, he is one of this (Islamic) nation. Allah... We have no clergy, or a pope, or anything like this. Anyone can carry out his religious duty, even if he is by himself.
Host: Mr. Hani, issuing fatwas is done by religious scholars.
Al-Siba'i: He has a Shura council, he has religious scholars... He wanted to debate with other scholars, but they refused. He asked to discuss matters with them, but they refused.
Host: The question, in short, is whether the religious scholars... Sir, the religious law assembly in Mecca at the end of last month issued a fatwa forbidding the killing of civilians. Should we follow it or Osama bin Laden?
Al-Siba'i: These assemblies resemble the assemblies of the Church. These assemblies forbid young people from going to Iraq to fight the Jihad. These assemblies... The Higher Religious Authority (in Saudi Arabia) are the ones who allowed the presence of Crusader forces in the Land of the Two Holy Places (Saudi Arabia). These assemblies...
Host: Mr. Hani, make no mistake. The same assembly ruled that Jihad in Iraq is allowed against soldiers. Even Sheik Osama (sic) Al-Maqdissi, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi's mentor... OK. Abu Hani, OK... He asked Al-Zarqawi not to kill civilians and to attack only the Americans... I mean, only soldiers...
Al-Siba'i: The term "civilians" does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr. Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I'm familiar with religious law. There is no such term as "civilians" in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not.
As many as 40 possible terrorists may have attempted to infiltrate U.S. intelligence agencies in recent months, CIA expert Barry Royden reported at a national counterintelligence conference in March. If that news isn't sufficiently terrifying, consider this chilling paradox: Though the agencies caught the potential spies at the job application stage, post-Sept. 11 pressures to quickly boost staffing make it increasingly likely that a terrorist could sneak into the intelligence community's ranks.
Since Al Qaeda's attacks on New York and Washington four years ago, the Sept. 11 commission and other investigative bodies have criticized intelligence agencies for failing to hire enough qualified personnel. President Bush ordered the CIA to increase analytic and operational personnel by 50%.
In response, intelligence agencies have launched ambitious campaigns to attract new recruits, even enlisting advertising agencies and running glitzy commercials. But this scramble to hire leaves agencies vulnerable, as a woefully small number of security analysts attempt to vet the flood of applicants. Job seekers with the native language skills and overseas experience that much intelligence work requires are among the most difficult to screen for security.
This conundrum comes to light as intelligence agencies have finally recognized that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operate like traditional intelligence services. Terrorists spy before they terrorize. They case and observe their targets. They collect intelligence about their enemy's vulnerabilities from publicly available information and by eliciting secrets from unwitting sources. Like intelligence officers, terrorists also practice tradecraft — the art of blending seamlessly into a society's fabric for months or years before striking.
Consider two men whom U.S. officials have linked to Al Qaeda: Iyman Faris, a naturalized U.S. citizen, exploited his job as a truck driver to plan ways to sabotage bridges and derail trains across the country. And Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member and a convert to Islam, could maneuver in Western society without the scrutiny given those of Middle Eastern background. Padilla's ultimate mission, allegedly, was to explode a "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city.
Considering their backgrounds, these recruits would presumably have failed to pass muster if they attempted to find jobs in U.S. intelligence.
But what about John Walker Lindh? Dubbed the American Talib, Lindh was of a different mold. He came from an affluent Marin County suburb, had decent academic credentials and no criminal record. If the U.S. hadn't captured him in Afghanistan, if he'd simply returned home to the U.S. after his secret training and indoctrination, his knowledge of Arabic and Middle East travel may have made him an attractive candidate for U.S. intelligence. That others with similar experience will infiltrate intelligence agencies is a real risk.
In the war on terrorism, intelligence has replaced the Cold War's tanks and fighter planes as the primary weapon against an unseen enemy.
A single mole in the CIA, the National Security Agency or the FBI could inflict far more damage to national security than Soviet spies did during the Cold War. Because the U.S. and Soviet Union never went head-to-head in war, the Soviets never fully exploited the advantages from its spies.
Now, however, our nation is at war. Imagine the damage Al Qaeda could do with the help of an infiltrator such as FBI spy Robert Hanssen or CIA traitor Aldrich Ames, each of whom passed a wealth of classified material to the Russians.
To prevent that sort of catastrophe, our intelligence agencies need to strike a difficult balance. Starting immediately, they need to develop common databases to share hiring information, and they need to add investigators and counterintelligence experts to bolster security screening.
Senior officials must resist political pressure and exercise patience in investigating each applicant thoroughly. U.S. counterintelligence safeguards must remain impregnable even as agencies push to replenish the depleted ranks of intelligence professionals.
Los Angeles Times: Al Qaeda answers CIA's hiring call
Iran’s most prominent jailed dissident, journalist Akbar Ganji, has completed one month of hunger strike and is now demanding his unconditional release, his wife was quoted as saying yesterday.It seems that nobody, except The White House, cares about the fate of Mr. Ganji. Everyone else is asking "How come this guy is still alive?"
“After 31 days of hunger strike, Ganji has a very good morale and wishes to continue his action," Massoumeh Shafiie told the semi-official Ilna news agency after meeting her husband in Teheran’s Evin prison.
“He is demanding his unconditional release and believes the only way to secure this is by continuing his hunger strike. He says he will only eat when he is unconditionally freed," she added.
Ganji was sentenced in 2001 to six years behind bars over articles he wrote linking senior regime officials, including ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian, to the serial murders of several intellectuals and writers.
He was re-imprisoned on June 11 after being granted a short period of leave on medical grounds, and since then has been on a hunger strike — only drinking water and munching on sugar lumps.